New Fiat 500 due in 2016: exclusive images

16 Feb, 2014 7:00am Jack Rix

Fiat will treat us to an all-new Fiat 500 in 2016 with enhanced technology and updated retro-themed styling

Fiat is preparing to follow in MINI’s footsteps by reinventing the famous Fiat 500 for a second time. An all-new model – revealed in our exclusive images – is due on sale in 2016, 

While the cute retro styling will be given a subtle evolution, the interior will undergo a much more dramatic transformation, with a large central touchscreen to replace buttons.

To help boost the appeal of the 500 in the US – its biggest global market – the newcomer will be wider and longer than at present, which will improve interior space and stretch the proportions for a sportier profile. 

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Our images, based on inside information, show how larger oval headlights, framed by an LED ring, and oversized tail-lamps will emphasise the extra width, while rubbing strips give a tougher look.

According to our sources, the new 500’s design has been set in stone for a while now, but Fiat has been in no rush to replace the current car – introduced seven years ago – when sales are still going so well. 

In 2013, the 500 was Europe’s top-selling city car, edging Fiat’s Panda into second place in the chart, with 160,015 finding homes. The VW up! and Vauxhall Adam trailed by 30,000 and 115,000 sales respectively.

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The hi-tech new interior – shown in our detailed rendering – takes its inspiration from the 2004 Trepiuno concept. This is the car that previewed the modern 500, three years before it went on sale. As you can see, the only buttons are for the automated manual gearbox; all others will have their functionality integrated into a large central touchscreen. 

The instrument cluster will also be replaced by a full TFT screen, so only the most relevant information is shown at any given time. But the new 500 won’t forget its roots – touches like the full-width colour dash insert retain that retro Italian flavour. 

Unlike MINI, which plans to add a five-door hatchback to the new three-door later this year, Fiat will offer the new 500 as a three-door only. But as we reported in December, a larger five-door hatch with 500 styling cues will be introduced in 2015.

This new model will replace the Punto in the line-up, and will sit on a modified version of that car’s platform. It will line up alongside the 500, 500C, 500L, 500 MPW and imminent 500X crossover – as well as the Abarth 500 to form a seven-strong range.

Under the bonnet, the new 500 isn’t likely to stray far from the current car’s range, although all engines will get more power and extra efficiency. The 1.3-litre Multijet diesel’s CO2 emissions should dip below 90g/km, although the star of the show will still be the charismatic 0.9-litre two-cylinder TwinAir, offered in several outputs, up to 105bhp. 

Fiat faces a big challenge to repeat the current 500’s success, though. It will help if it can keep the entry-level price around the £10,000 mark (that’s about £1,500 less than the cheapest Adam), but competition in this class is fierce. 

The new Hyundai i10 has just gone on sale, while other talented rivals due this year include the new Citroen C1, Toyota Aygo and Peugeot 108 plus the new Renault Twingo, which apes the Fiat 500's styling.

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If these pictures bear any relationship to what FIAT is actually proposing to build then this will be a good looking vehicle. As with the present vehicle, about the best looking of the so-called "retros".
However, if anything demonstrated the disadvantages of "retro" , it is this car. The rear styling cuts un-necessarily into rear headroom and luggage space. The VW Up and its clones are, IMHO, characterless but they make an obviously better use of the length of the vehicle.
Please designers can we have something space efficient and attractive to look at whilst getting away from all this looking backwards?

JEEZ... Autoexpress, stop making some stupid renderings to trick people.... The touchscreen of the interior is from the Citroen C4 Picasso, and the airvents are from the Alfa Romeo Giulietta...

I think it looks foul... but you know what they say about opinions.

Are these pics from Fiat?

The steering wheel is from the Panda.

I hope this is just an AE rendering because if it is not I'm glad the new Twingo looks reminiscent of the outgoing 500. Because this isn't cute anymore.

IMO opinion the best "retros" are the London taxi and the various generations of Porsche 911.

The original FIAT and Beetle looked the way they did because the engine was in the back driving the rear wheels. There's absolutely no reason for them to look the way they do now. At least VW took a gamble and started the trend. Fiat simply saw the success of the Beetle and the Mini and cobbled together a very dynamically flawed machine based on the Panda. The Panda is a great, cheap and practical car whereas the 500 is just a fashion accessory that drives and handles like a pudding. The Mini is of course also a fashion accessory but considering how well enginereed it is and how much work BMW have put into making sure it drives well is the only "fashion accessory" car that can be considered by car enthusiasts. I would even say that if the new Mini Cooper is going to be available for the advertised price then it's an absolute bargain, especially compared to the beetle and 500!

Please don't wreck the looks with yet another set of oversized poached-egg headlamps.

I would have ticked the "like" response to this if I were convinced the new Mini would ride rather better than a steamroller and not have the appearance of a cathedral gargoyle. B.A.T. (BMW Added Tax ) for stuff which should be standard fittings in a "premium" vehicle, e.g. cruise control, has to be taken account in pricing as well.

I really hope that is just an AE drawing.... If it's a FIAT official render then they've ruined the 500. The current one is a great little car and in Abarth trim, looks superb.

Looks like the new shape beetle from the back!

I am also tired of the retro-mobiles and also cars like the DS3, Adam and the A1 which have jumped onto the bandwagon, but are nothing more than fashion cars. The mini may be a good driver but I doubt that the typical customers would care. The Fiat 500 looks cute but is a truly nasty little car on the road.

I agree with you on the VW Up. It manages to achieve what the original Mini, 500 and Beetle did by being genuinely good, cheap and amazingly space efficient. It has miles more character than any of the above Eurojunk!

If you wanted something that handles well on a track you get the Abarth or similar. If you want a good looking car that makes the driver feel good whilst driving comfortably around town then a 500 is a great car. Stop judging vehicles according to what only YOU want in a car.

Couldn't agree more. I have driven two brand new 500's plus several other cars in the same class. The 500 was by far the worst, cramped, lifeless steering, jumpy ride (very). The best of the lot was a 1.2 Clio which felt like a grown-up car and was not trying to be something else, such as - match for handbag, favourite teapot, cuddly toy etc.

This is it BigChizz. The wife doesn't give two hoots how it drives (up to a point) but she still wants a baby blue one as it looks fabulous, and is a lovely place to be. Personally I like the Abarth (the ss is simply too rock hard imo!). Different strokes for different folks - isn't that the way it should be?? The sales numbers show they have the priorities right.

But ... but ... don't some people just know so much more than others do? ;-p

I'm sure some live in a kind of Clarksonland.

I think you misread me about the Up. IMHO it has zero character, is not particularly cheap and scores (again IMHO) over the 500 only because it is not compromised by being "retro". Cannot comment upon the driveability of either.
Whereas the very stylistically derivative Adam is the same size as the 500 both the A.1 and the DS3 are larger and are more comparable with the Mito. The DS3 scores over the other two by having space for more than two in the back and is generally a pretty fair compromise.

The 500 and Ka are tarted up Pandas, but out of the 3 the 500 is by far the worst to drive. It wallows and bounces through corners and with 16 inch alloys crashes over the tiniest imperfections. For some strange reason the Panda drives OK!

If you want something that handles well on a track, there are lots of cars you can buy. I you want a car that handles well on the track AND on the road, then the Abarth is NOT a good car for the job.

That surely depends on what an individual driver requires and takes as 'acceptable'. Some people wouldn't have wanted to drive my old Type R on the road as you felt every bump ... but that's exactly WHY I liked it.

My other half's 500 was softly suspended, but not to the point where it wouldn't go round corners. But you hardly felt anything through the car when it hit a bump of any sort.

But what a great car to be based on, eh?

The Panda is beyond brilliant when judged in context. If only they still made the 100HP ... but with 120hp!

Bet then you're not a female (I'm guessing) who is looking for something different from their car. In that context the 500 is a jewel like thing.

From talking and listening to car buyers at work, some of whom have the 500 and others the Clios etc,. I can say that looks matter more than any driving ability or convenience to a large number of people. Discussing any new car the only factor that is mentioned with enthusiasm is the way it looks, the colours available and, sometimes, how many miles it goes to a tankful - even though nobody knows that tank sizes vary of course . Nothing else is important and some of them don't know what all the buttons do, or even (shockingly true!) which wheels are driven. The 500 is just totally cute: Period! The Adam isn't cute. The Koreans and Japanese are for old people, and men drive German cars. Those who don't care lease Fords. Empirical research then. Simple.

These pictures look to be based on someone's brief glimpse of the 500X mini-SUV - particularly the rub-strips on the doors.

On why it's changing: the regular 500 will be refreshed because production of US-bound cars is being moved from Mexico to Poland (where all other 500s are made). Previously, the USA model had some additional styling changes to the rest-of-world car to meet US crash and lighting regulations, but the next generation combines these into a single bodyshape. It has nothing to do with "sales of the current model being good" or not.

(Interior pictures are butchered from a 500L, but with the UConnect media system that WILL be used replaced with something from a Pugeot, that definitely won't... bizarre).

After the disaster of the FIAT Grande Punto to Punto Evo facelift, FIAT know well to not mess with a winning body design. I expect the new 500 to look very much like the old one: after all, the whole point of the modern 500 is that it should look like a 1957 Cinquecento...

"Men" drive German cars? What bald men?
Blokes with pit bulls, and erectile dysfunction.
I could go on, but this is the usual set up for ego driven toss pots. A "real man" wouldn't need to drive a German bore box!

This design SUCKS.................................